17 August 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey is a fluke, driven by media hype. You are not going to make a zillion dollars. Do this because this is what you want to write, and for no other reason.
Felix Baron, author of petite novel Look at Me!
Any sex you want to write about, try it first to be sure you get it right.
Don't listen to anyone who tries to give you advice.
Write what you most want to write, not what you think will sell or what anyone else will want to read. Don't try to force the writing; bring it to life with whatever your personal interests, sexual and otherwise, are. I used to play chess, so I've turned a chess game into an erotica story setting. Google is your friend; you can look up everything from outfits to sex toys to exotic locations to fetishes and fantasies.
Read, write and experience life. I’m picky about my erotica. I want hot sex, but I want it in the context of a good story. To write an engaging, interesting narrative, a writer needs to be exposed to different situations, to be knowledgeable about many diverse subjects and to learn how to craft words into sentences and paragraphs that entice the reader to keep reading the story even after the sheets have cooled. I would also recommend joining the Erotica Readers and Writers Association. This group of erotica readers and writers offer honest critiques of erotica and is a great source for submission calls and general information.
Same advice I'd give any writer: write from the heart. Write for yourself first, and no one else. If you write what compels you, what you would want to read, chances are someone else might too.
Rose de Fer, author of Lust Ever After
Write what turns YOU on. If you're getting off on it, the reader will too!
Megan Hart, contributor to My Secret Life
Be realistic. People bend in certain ways. Sex works in certain ways. You don't have to try everything you write, but at least try to make it sound like it could really happen. Good erotic writing is never about tab A in slot B, it's about the emotion behind the sex.
Gwen Masters, contributor to My Secret Life
Two pieces of advice: first, remember the difference between porn and erotica. Porn is all about the body—erotica is about the body and everything else. You can make a good living at writing the stroke stories, but if you can combine the stroke stories with the literary slant that makes your story linger with readers long after you turned them on, then you’re writing the good stuff.
Secondly: keep at it, and you will find your niche. You will find your voice. It can be disheartening to see one rejection after another, no matter how long you have been in the game—but keep writing. One day, it all falls into place, and you will hit your stride.
It’s pretty simple. Read a lot. Write a lot—as in every day (or almost every day). Take notice when someone takes the time to give you honest input. And start growing that thick skin now. However, on the flip side, stay true to yourself—don’t try to follow everyone’s direction, you’ll drive yourself bonkers.
Even though the climax of an erotic story is usually a literal climax, you still need to give it a plot. It isn't as simple as A meets B, A and B fuck, The End. As Kurt Vonnegut said, "Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water."
Never, ever give up. No matter what: persevere. You will feel like you're failing, at some point. But just keep going, keep writing, keep researching the genre, keep honing your craft. You'll get there.
Donna George Storey, contributor to Improper Conduct
Writing erotica is very exciting and lots of fun, but we also have to overcome a lifetime of training to restrain ourselves from expressing our sexuality freely. What works for me is to imagine I'm in a safe space—a comfortable room with a crackling fire in the fireplace or a pretty, quiet garden—where it's completely okay to talk about eroticism, celebrate sensuality, and explore all the possibilities between sexual partners. No one is watching or judging me there—no parents, teachers, ministers, church ladies. Anything goes and it's all okay. Whenever I do feel shy about my explicit writing (and it still happens), I also imagine my perfect reader, who is as curious and adventurous as I am, smiling her encouragement. And there are many such readers out there we can connect with—so take the plunge and write something hot!
Kristina Wright, author of Seduce Me Tonight (October 2012)
Don't give up. Never give up. I think far too many new writers expect instant success and are too easily discouraged by a rejection letter (or twenty rejection letters). Writing is HARD work—don't let anyone tell you otherwise—and rejection is a part of the process. Keep writing, but also keep learning, reading and editing your work and you will sell.